LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Child abuse experts fear the COVID-19 pandemic could be the reason for an increase in child abuse cases in Pulaski county.
The Children’s Protection Center has been an important part of advocating against child abuse for 14 years and its role in the community has become even more important since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are experiencing an unprecedented number of children who are coming to our center,” Executive Director Jennifer Long said. “What we’re really seeing is that the stress of COVID, of children being at home all the time, we’re seeing more physical abuse cases at the center.”
The Children’s Protection Center is a community response to child abuse. In 2019, the Children’s Protection Center served 630 children. Last year that number increased to 900.
“It is a place where children who have experienced abuse or neglect can come and tell their story and they can get all the services they need,” Long explained.
The center is tasked with providing food, forensic exams and sometimes clothing. Because of the great work the center does, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton honored the Children’s Protection Center with the Difference Maker award. The award comes with a $1,000 donation from the law firm.
“We were really excited when we found out that we were being recognized for this award. I’ve seen it on TV lots of times. I’ve see all these wonderful agencies being recognized, so it’s an honor to be recognized among those groups,” Long said.
The Children’s Protection Center will kick off its 15th anniversary campaign soon. It hopes to raise money to expand its facility and serve more children.